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New Benefit Eligability Tests

Discussion in 'Benefits' started by mrburden, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. mrburden

    mrburden Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi,
    As a recipient of Incapacity Benefit due to many complications caused by long-term diabetes, I would be interested to hear from anyone in a similar situation who has had to take the new benefit eligability test. I am due for a general review of the IB in February 2011 and although I don't think I should have a problem with the test I have a worry that it may not reflect the seriousness of my situation. I guess it is a bit of a fear of the unknown. I get a couple of small disability based pensions (one being from the government) but the IB is a necessity that I rely on.
    Any experiences would be interesting to hear about, thanks.
     
  2. sugarless sue

    sugarless sue · Master

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    Get some expert advice on this ! Try CAB. The medical assessment requires you to get 15 points or you do not get ESA and are deemed fit to work.

    Go online and Google ' ESA Assessment' and find the criteria they need, see if you will have the 15 points. Good luck with it.
     
  3. mrburden

    mrburden Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info. I've read the qualifying criteria now thanks. I don't see a problem in qualifying for the benefit but I still don't really know the rules of the ESA compared to IB. The 15 point score still seems to suggest that you are expected to work as they class it as "limited capacity for work". I do want to work so maybe the powers that be can find a suitable job and I won't need to worry at all! :)
     
  4. jopar

    jopar · Well-Known Member

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    The latest that I've heard about this was not encouraging at all..

    Didn't get the full story and haven't looked up the details only some of the statisic figures..

    That was out of the 800,000 claims sorted (not sure of what period of time, but assumed since the rules have changed) 600,000 of these claims either failed for one reason or another!!!

    Which is quite shocking surely there can't be that many work shy, leg swingers can there :shock:

    Wonder how many of those really do need the benefit and have been denied something they should have?
     
  5. mrburden

    mrburden Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi jopar,
    That ties in with the figures I've heard too. About 1 in 4 claimants are "qualifying" and 75% fail!
    When I was working my employer wanted a medical report from my GP. That report highlighted problems that my employer had been woried about and it lost me my job. II was horrified at going onto IB and, along with my Disability Employment Advisor, spent £100's on applying for jobs I thought I might be able to do. I've even demanded interviews where I meet minimum criteria and been refused interview although the employer shows the disability tick in their ad. I have volunteered too, but nobody is prepared to offer me a paid job. I don't know what else to do. I don't understand how the government imagine that so many people would give up relatively good jobs with a fair wage to get onto a benefit that offers an income that doesn't even cover the food bill each week.

    I haven't tried to sell my body yet, though I've been refused a donor card so I can't even give it away! :)
     
  6. Petey

    Petey · Member

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    I was interviewed for ESA eligibility in June shortly after resigning a contract because I'd become too ill to work. I received the verdict four weeks ago which stated I'd scored 0, needing a minimum of 15 to qualify. I responded stating that the interviewer had clearly assessed me against a day when BG values were within range. I re-graded the card against a day when out of range (which is currently around 95% of the time) and scored - without manipulation - exactly 15.

    I suggested the interviewer had comprehensively failed to satisfy the stated reasons for the interview and that I wished to appeal the decision. I further suggested that they contact my specialist care team during their investigation. With my appeal form I included a copy of the re-graded assessment sheet, copies of random pages from my log books, a list of symptoms common to T1 diabetes and my rationale for appealing.

    I hope that I'll be stabilised enough to resume work before the appeal goes to tribunal, as I'm not sure if I could face that in my present state. I do worry that others who are genuinely unfit for work will be forced into situations that further risk their health (physical & mental) by this arbitrary and completely unmoderated process. Many who are in a poorer state of mental health than I am will likely accept the verdict out of fear, not because it's reflective of the real situation.

    You don't believe such obscene abdications of responsibility can happen until you experience them for yourself. I didn't, and was stunned when I realised just how vulnerable I was as an unwell person in the face of governmental incompetence.
     
  7. NorthCountryMaid

    NorthCountryMaid · Active Member

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    I'm new to diabetes, but not new to the benefits treadmill, and I've been watching this latest set of "reforms" with horror. I'm not the only one - can I recommend that anyone here with any interest in the handling of the ESA, and the WCA test used to establish you right to it, to read the stuff being produced by the Citizens Advice Bureau.

    "Not working", their summary of the 2009 version of WCA, can be found here:

    http://www.financialskillsforlife.org.uk/not_working_march_2010_final.pdf

    and more recently they found little improvement:

    http://www.financialskillsforlife.org.uk/citizens_advice_response_to_esa_review_sept_2010__2_.pdf

    "Not working" contains gems like the women who reported that a couple of times a week she went out in the car and sat on a bench watching her husband taking the dog for a walk. This was added to the form as "takes the dog for a walk". I think it was there was another priceless story. A man was asked what he did, he said that he used to run a restaurant. The Health Care Professional (for whom English was not a first language) wrote down, "goes running."

    The rules for tackling ESA seem to be:

    [1] take a witness into the assessment with you. If you can manage to arrange to have the interview recorded this is a good thing, but ATOS may very well tell you (inaccurately) that it isn't possible. (The Benefits and Work site - see point [7] has stuff on this.)

    [2] be prepared for the Health Care Professional to ask you questions which you cannot answer by a simple Yes or No, but where they will write down a simple Yes or No regardless. Think up answers to the sorts of questions they will ask which are as unambiguous as possible.

    [3] accept that sometimes the HCP will simply write down something which bears no resemblance to what you said. Accept also that they will take no notice of any medical evidence, they are (their story goes) not trying to establish anything about your health, simply whether you can carry out any task which might be part of any work.

    [4] accept that you will probably fail the assessment - it's designed by an American company for the American health insurance market, they profit margins depend on large numbers of disqualifications. Start planning your appeals strategy.

    [5] when it comes to appeals you are in for the long haul - the backlog is growing and will get much worse when they start re-assessing all current IB recipients, and worse still if they decide to start on the DLA re-assessments before the IB ones are finished. Meanwhile join the queue of those people looking to the CAB for help at the tribunals - you chance of getting through one is greatly increased.

    [6] keep notes of everything and photocopies of all forms, letters etc before you send them. Make notes of all telephone calls, and include the date, time and the name of the person you spoke to

    [7] use online resources such www.benefitsandwork.co.uk - a commercial site which offers some help with legal issues, and forums for discussion; some of its areas are open to non-members. You can see one of their news stories re-posted at

    http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/forums/even-harsher-new-esa-medical-approved-benefits-work-13th-april-2010

    which demonstrates that the newer measures are not a party political issue.

    [8] consider political action. Remember that your MP is also a resource - they can help you (particularly if you have evidence - see [6] above) but can also be used to try and curtail this stupid, inhumane and counter-productive testing. Remind them that the large number of decisions being overturned at tribunal cost the tax payer a lot of money - it would have been much cheaper to award them the benefit in the first place.

    Sorry that this is a long post, but people do need to understand what is being done, in their name, to the dying, the sick, the disabled and their carers. Only a few people with diabetes as their sole major health issue may need to fight the ESA/DLA battle - I know many people with diabetes object to being labelled "disabled".

    However, many people get diabetes as the result of other health conditions (as in my case) or develop other health issues (such as kidney failure or blindness) which could take them into the category of those who find themselves out of work as a result of health problems.

    If I am frightening you - GOOD!. This is a situation where fright is an appropriate response. We need to do things. I have just given up an evening to trying to write this post in the hope that someone out there may be better prepared for their ESA experience, and someone else may say, "That's wrong!" and pass the message on.

    To start where I began: if you don't believe me download the CAB reports - you will find that I am understating the gravity of the situation.
     
  8. donnellysdogs

    donnellysdogs Type 1 · Master

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    You will also be asked how you travelled to interview and how long it took (this shows whether you can be expected to sit in a car long enough to drive 1 hour to work each day).
    You will aslo be asked where you parked, and how long it took you to walk there. (This deems whether you are capable of walking and how fast).
    You will also be provoked by the ATOS person, this tells them how you handle people and whether you are depressed, stressed or what they classify as being fit for work.
    They will time your arrival in the waiting room, and watch to see whether you can sit down or whether you have to stand up.
    When you go in to the interview with the ATOS HCP there will be a chair without arms, and a chair with arms. This assesses whether you are able to sit at a desk for a reasonable amount of time without needing to stand up. If you use the chair without arms and can get up and out of it easily you will be deemed fit for work.

    My husband came with me, and recognised that the ATOS HCP was deliberately trying to provoke me. He made the ATOS person apologise twice to me.
    The ATOS person lied that he offered me a female attendant, and he didn't.

    I got refused ESA. I asked for a copy of the report on me. The ATOS person had told many untruths,withnessed by my husband.
    I wrote a letter asking for the decision to be reviewed. (in the meantime the DLA had used the ATOS report and awarded me mobility and carer allowance). The ESA reviewed their decision with all the long letter and details of things that the ATOS person had got wrong or lied about and they came back with a reversal of the decision without the necessity to go to appeal.

    Everything you do from the moment you leave home to go for the interview, and certainly from parking to public transport etc will all be written down. You are watched and assessed from the minute you walk in to the waiting room till the minute you leave, even whether you use the disabled toilet or a normal one.

    It certainly isn't a pleasant interview, you will never experience anything like it before. It is nothing like a job interview or filling forms in at a jobcentre.

    They even assess your appearance to say whether you are well kempt, or in my case....looking very tired....!! They even log down what hand you use, whether it is your right hand or left hand.

    The ATOS person will try to get you upset to walk out of the appointment, as this then will be logged and you will not get chance to appeal. The HCP will ask whether you want to stop the appointment and come back when feeling better....don't do this, as this will also go against you....
    they will write down that you walked out, and again, they won't have to pay anything to you.....and no appeal.

    Makesure you take a firm, strong minded person with you. Somebody that can keep control when the ATOS offical appears ignorant and rude. Chances are the ATOS person will not have a good understanding of english either.....you may be asked to spell things and write things....this again may be a ploy....
     
  9. donnellysdogs

    donnellysdogs Type 1 · Master

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    One last piece of info...when my husband and I worked out how many points I would score, we added them up on DLA and ESA forms to total over 60 on each system.....and yet the ATOS person declared I was fit.
    Do keep a list of how you believe that you fulfil the points system, and keep copies of everything, even the forms that you have to fill in.
     
  10. k9kitty

    k9kitty · Active Member

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    I had a medical for esa recently and have been put into the WRAG. I will be reassessed in six months which is the norm for this group. If you get put into the support group I think different rules apply. I think there are a number of interviews to attend at the Jobcentre for the work group.

    You may be asked if you can use a knife and fork, how you prepare a meal, take a bath/shower, if you can dress yourself, what you do with your day etc. All these questions give indication of how you move about, bend, stretch and so on, and for how long, so do be careful when you answer. You may be asked to get up on a rediculessly high couch, (there are usually steps). I am only 5ft tall and can't climb up onto anything thats higher than my hip, so I asked the assessor if they wanted to lift me up onto it :) I am very heavy to lift. My bg reading that morning was 8.7mml. Do tell the assessor about any hypo's and hypers and what effect on your health and day to day living they have on you. If you have lost feeling in your feet which puts you at greater risk of falling, tell them etc. If they are do not seem to take that in, tell them again a bit later in the medical. If this isn't considered at the assessment, your GP, physio can give written evidence for your appeal. Beware the waiting area, it has cctv. :roll: The assessment centre I attended does not allow the use of mobile phones in waiting area or food or drink at all and the security officer approached people with coffee or phones. There was nowhere to park outside and it was on a busy raod. I am not sure if this is commonplace.

    Make a copy of the ESA50 form you fill in before medical, take your time filling it in and ask someone to check it. It will be useful if you appeal the decision or need to apply again.
    You can have the medical recorded, some people covertly record in secret, this can be useful if you need to appeal, as many do, although if you record in secret you will not be able to use it at the appeal hearing but it will give you a useful reference point when thinking about the appeal form.
    If you have disability that makes travel and walking particularly difficult you can ask your GP to fax a letter to ATOS customer services requesting a home visit. If the ATOS doctor refuses they may pay taxi fares too and from the assessment centre. Do get an acknowledgement of any special request in writing, either by letter or email from customer services. Don't just reply on what is promised in a phone call.

    Do take someone with you for support if you can. Take a letter from hospital that give the date of your diagnosis and the condition, put it down on the table and ask if the assessor would like to look at them, even if they don't. I found doing this gave me a minute or two breathing space and the assessor looked across at the hospital letter. Ask them to repeat and explain anything you are not sure of. I asked at the end of session, what happens now? Can I have copy of your report?

    I read many other posts on different forums about these medicals and esa/dla applications beforehand and was so certain I would get nil points. I found it helped to think about and plan my appeal. It helped me to concentrate on what the important key points of my disability is. Even though I didn't need to go down this road this time. Staying focused in this way did help.

    Most of all, do not loose heart, this process is extremely frustrating and difficult for all who go through it and the government are tightening up for sure. Many people who do appeal go on to be awarded benefit but do get advice if you need to do this. If you need to appeal do state clearly that you want to be paid benefit whist waiting for the hearing. You will need to send medical certificates from your gp until esa/dla is awarded.

    Good luck for your IB review, hope everything goes well for you
     
  11. Ka-Mon

    Ka-Mon · Well-Known Member

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    I had my ESA medical in June 2009, was told that I would get the results in about 6 weeks but when I heard nothing after 8 weeks I called them & was told that they had forgotten all about me. Lol

    They then told me that I should get it within the next two weeks but I did not hear from them until 14th of December telling me that I had failed the test & was fit enough to work & should report to Jobcentre. I went to the Job centre the next day, the lady at the reception took one look at me & told that I am not fit enough to work & can therefor not claim Jobseekers allowance, she told me to go & apply for ESA. So there I was stuck in the middle of the two, one says I am fit & the other tells me to go away. :D

    That same day I appealed against the ATOS decision & had to go through Cristmas time without any money until about the third week in January when they started paying me the reduced rate of ESA. I then waited about another 2 months or so then was again told that I was fit enough to go to work & should report to the job centre. This time though I did not bother & appealed again on the same day I received the letter from them.

    Sometime in July, I think?, I received a date for the Tribunal, mid September at 3pm. I was having a shower on that day about 11am when my wife walked & said that someone from the Tribunal called to tell me that with all my illnesses not to bother going to the Tribunal because it would be waste of my time & of course the Judges too. The Judge awarded me another 6 points & I won my case without having to travel all the way into the city.

    The thing with ATOS is that it doesn't matter how many illnesses you have they will always claim that you are "fit to work", unless you are mentally or terminally I'll. They've probably been ordered by the government to refuse ESA to everyone as default knowing that some people will be too scared or just will not want to go through the trouble of appealing so that the government can keep it's promise of getting most of the, what they call " lazy layabouts", back to work. ATOS didn't give a damn that I am diabetic & have another 8 non-diabetic Illnesses. As far as they were concerned if I could turn my wrists palm side up & down, climb on a couch, lift my hands shoulder high no matter with how much difficulty or pain I was fit enough to work. It's almost as if the Docs & nurses who work there are robots & not human beings.

    It took me around 15 months but I won my appeal & receive full ESA & got all the money they owed me. If you think you've got a case appeal & appeal again & let the Tribunal decide.
     
  12. Nanaclaire

    Nanaclaire · Active Member

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    I have attended a atos fit for work the so called dr hardly looked up from tHe computer but I was always one step ahead my reason for being on it is diabetes 1 angina (pain every day at some point thru the day, and kidney problems ) my main issue is the angina i even get pain when i am resting this caused me to be finished from work..I was finished on the grounds of ill health by a occupational health dr stating that I would never be able to work again along with my GP are they going to go against this statement of which years ago was classed as the green card. I think it is a joke how they are penalising the sick nanaclaire
     
  13. tremari

    tremari · Newbie

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    all you have to do to get a minimum of 15 points at the interview to keep or get IB is tell them that you get at least 2-3 hypos a week, suffer a loss of or changed consciousness, hurt yourself sometimes if you go down and some times needing help from others. keep to that and dont over do it

    That should do the trick
     
  14. bowlesjenner

    bowlesjenner · Newbie

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    DONT WORRY.HI, I WENT FOR A ESA MEDICAL THREE YEARS AGO, AND WAS IN A LOT OF PAIN ON THE DAY. I AM A DIABETIC, ALSO I HAVE DEJENATIVE DISC DEASE OF THE SPINE. ALSO I HAVE ASTHMA, AN IREGULAR HEART BEAT. WHEN I GOT THE RESULT I WAS ALSO GIVEN 0 POINTS. WHICH WAS TOTALLY WRONG. SO I WENT TO CAB FOR ADVICE. I WENT TO A TRIBUNAL. AND WAS AWARDED 27 POINTS. WHICH MEANT I WOULD CARRY ON GETTING ESA. IN AUGUST THIS YEAR I HAD TO GO FOR ANOTHER MEDICAL ,TO SEE IF I STILL NEEDED ESA. hahaha.OF COURSE I DO. I GOT A LETTER SAYING I HAVE BEEN PUT ON SUPPORT ONLY AND NOT EMPLOYMENT. AND I GET A LITTLE EXTRA MONEY NOW. SO BE PATIENT, I'M SURE YOU WILL BE OK.
     
  15. kazwbb

    kazwbb · Active Member

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    I used to have a job which paid well and that I really enjoyed. I sadly eventually lost my job due to the increasing amount of illness I had (not just diabetes btw)

    The ESA assessment came around and I was also awarded 0 points. I was devastated but with encouragement of my family I appealed. At the appeal I was awarded 18 points but placed in the work related activity group.

    So it does seem that everyone automatically gets 0 which is incredibly wrong. I can totally relate to some of the tragic stories of people commiting suicide because of this procedure.
     
  16. Mr_Tito

    Mr_Tito · Newbie

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    Kazwbb- I understand about the suicide- I have tried to top myself 4 times- since the Government seems to think that living with a benign but deliberatating benign Brian tumour which has major effects on my hormones and has led to diabetes typr 2. - I visit the doctors every 7-10 days for treatment and I tried working part time but found employers refused to give me lunch breaks or sufficient income to commute to the job and buy food. - I did an online income survey and worked out that I am in the lowest 8% of income earners in the country living of £3,000 per annum. This has to pay power, food and transport costs.- I did try to run a car as I live in a Conservative Local Authority area which has abolished subsidised transport, but found I was increasingly having to drive it without tax and Insurance to survive and since I can no longer afford petrol I have taken it off the road. My local authority refuses to give me any social care as I'm a white Male under 60. and increasingly have to restrict myself to just one/two "meals" a day - I use Meals in a loose term since today Breakfast/brunch was two peach halves, and evening/afternoon meal a boiled egg. - this is normal for me to wake up at 14:00 and go to bed around 19:00/20:00 to save funds. - I had my health assessment through the idiots of Atos Origin and they decided that because I can stand for more than 5 mins and am capable of my own toilet functions then I score zero on their scheme. - my benefit has now been stopped and I now have nothing to live off. - Sometimes I wonder whether it might be better to stop taking diabetes medication and drink the largest amount of cheap alcohol to induce a diabetic coma and death. - since I can no longer afford to live, or have the desire to live in an uncaring money obessed society that treats its humanity this way. - I hope everyone who voted Conservative in 2010 is very proud of the society they created.
    Mr Tito, Hampshire
     
  17. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub · Guest

  18. viviennem

    viviennem Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget that the contact details of every member of both houses of Parliament are available at http://www.parliament.uk. If s/he doesn't open emails, at least the secretary will see your comments!

    Viv 8)
     
  19. mrssmurf2

    mrssmurf2 · Active Member

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    I am sorry if this offends you Mr Tito but I really cannot believe that you cannot get any help from anywhere. I was refused ESA and went to appeal with the help of my local (conservative) council benefit advisors. I was awarded ESA on the support group and I am attending university (I am 34) and still getting ESA with thier full knowledge. I too have attempted suicide 4 times and got psychiatric and psychological help. I did have to wait a while for the psychologist but was worth the wait. I had severe depression and anxiety before the diabetes diagnosis and other health problems so that was not even mentioned on my ESA application.
    Obviously I don't know you and your situation in full but I do believe if you try hard enough and try enough people you can get support.
     
  20. ZACNEMMA

    ZACNEMMA · Well-Known Member

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    I know a few people with type 2 and they are eligible for benefits.. However type 1's don't seem to be. Odd as I would of thought it should be the other way round
     
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